The Complete Guide That Makes Creating a Family Legacy Montage Simple


As we age, many of us turn our thoughts to our own mortality and the type of family legacy that we want to leave our children. This can be a period of melancholy and regret as we think of all we’ve left undone. Or, it can be a time of relaxation and celebration. A time to remember and celebrate all that this family has done.

One way to do this is through creating a family legacy documentary or montage. This update to the classic family movie formula allows you the chance to sample your family’s most precious memories and leave an enduring reminder of the good times after you’re gone.

How do you create this type of film? Here’s what you need to know.

Decide If You’re DIYing or Hiring Someone

Before you even begin creating your family legacy film, you need to decide if this is something you want to do yourself, or if you’d rather hire someone. Film editing is not a task to take lightly.

There’s a reason that professional film editors can make upwards of $87,000 each year. Editing requires an exacting eye for details, timing, lighting, and a host of other factors. It can be a time-consuming process that may cause you to miss out on making more memories.

There are automated programs designed to make these montages for you, but they won’t have the same degree of personalization. Factor that into your decision as well.

Prepare Your Toolset

If you’ve decided that DIY is the only way to make the best family movie ever, then you need to prepare your toolset. In order to create a family legacy documentary, you may need:

  • A high-quality camera (DSLR or iPhone)
  • A high-quality microphone
  • Conversion tools to turn old analog media into digital files (for old family videos on tape)
  • A video editing program

Once you have your basic tools prepared, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Gather Up Your Source Materials

Do you have a series of photos or albums you wish to showcase? How about video footage of your best family memories? Any special documents, like immigration papers or creative projects someone did? You’ll need all of these either converted to digital files or filmed to make the most of your legacy film.

You can compile resources that you and your family have on hand. If you want more governmental documentation, or to trace the family line farther back than you have access to, then you might also want or need the information from a genealogy website like

Conduct Interviews

Another great piece of any family legacy documentary is the interviews. If there are specific stories that you want to highlight, seek out the family members that know the most about them and conduct interviews. Or, if you want something simpler and more earnest, you could always ask them what their best family memories are.

You should try to prioritize any elderly family members for these interviews, as the clock is always ticking on our time with them. When you interview them, make sure they’re in a comfortable place, where their personality can emerge.

This isn’t the time to see someone’s job interview persona. You want to see them at their most honest, remembering the things that brought them joy and sorrow. Interview them in clothes that make them comfortable, in places that can bring back memories.

Dive Into Editing

Once you have all of your interviews, footage, and source materials together, it’s time to dive into editing. As we mentioned above, there are some platforms that can automate the process for you, but this will come at the expense of personalization. If you’d rather have something more personal, then you need to find an editing program. Windows Movie Maker isn’t going to cut it.

Depending on the platform you’re using, you’ll have access to different video editing software. MAGIX software like Sony Vegas tends to be Windows-exclusive, while iMovie is an Apple-based product. If you want to know the best video editing app for mac, our partners at SetApp have a comprehensive list of your best options.

Share Your Finished Project With the Family

When you’ve finally finished with the editing, it’s time to share the finished product with the rest of the family. There are several ways that you can do this. For instance, you can:

Upload to YouTube

If most of your family is fairly tech-savvy, you can upload this family legacy documentary on YouTube. If you’re not fussed about the whole world knowing about your family, you can set it to Public. However, if you’d rather it be a gift for the family alone, you can set the video to Unlisted and share the link with the family.

Be careful that you don’t have any copyrighted music in the video, though, as this might cause the video to be removed from the platform.

Burn the File to a DVD or Blu-Ray

If not everyone has ready access to a computer or knows how to follow links, you can burn the finished file to a DVD or Blu-Ray disk. If you do that, then anyone in the family that has a DVD or Blu-Ray player will be able to watch the legacy video whenever they want, without relying on an internet connection.

Save the File to a Flash Drive or SD Card

If you’re not sure how to burn the file to a DVD successfully, or most of your family has computer access, you can save the file to a flash drive or SD card. As long as they have hardware capable of reading that firmware, they can view it whenever they want.

Leaving a Family Legacy: Beyond Videos

Creating a film of your family legacy is but one way to remember those that have passed on and leave a mark for future generations. If you’re looking for more tips to help you leave behind a legacy your family will treasure, then check out our blog today for more content like this.


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